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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
Sports Medicine and Traumatology, Sports Psychology
Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,111
ORIGINAL ARTICLES BODY COMPOSITION, NUTRITION
The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 April;56(4):443-9
Accuracy of self-perception and Body Mass Index compared to actual body fat percentage in athletes and non-athletes
Aubrianne E. ROTE 1, Emily PINEDA 2, Olivia WELLS 3, Amy J. LANOU 1, Jason R. WINGERT 1 ✉
1 Department of Health and Wellness, University of North Carolina-Asheville, Asheville, NC, USA; 2 Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA; 3 Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, NC, USA
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of self-reported weight status compared to weight status based on actual body fat percentage in athletes and non-athletes.
METHODS: Adult athletes (N.=76; 43 female and 33 male) and non-athletes (N.=80; 43 female and 37 male) participated in this cross-sectional study. Participants were asked to identify their perceived weight status. Height and weight were measured, and BMI was calculated. Body fat percentage was assessed using BOD POD. Cross-tabs analyses were used to determine agreement between perceived weight status, weight status based on body fat percentage, and weight status based on BMI.
RESULTS: Overall, agreement between perceived weight status and actual weight status based on body fat percentage was fair. Of the 43 overweight/obese participants, 42% under-estimated weight status, thinking they were normal weight. Of the 114 normal weight participants, 6% over-estimated their weight status, thinking they were overweight. Although there were lower rates of overweight/obesity among athletes, 50% of overweight/obese athletes thought they were normal weight, while 39% of overweight/obese non-athletes thought they were normal weight. None of the normal weight athletes (N.=56) over-estimated their weight status. In contrast, 20% of male non-athletes, and 9% of female non-athletes who were normal weight thought they were overweight.
CONCLUSIONS: Similar to trends observed in recent studies, results from the current study indicate that a high proportion of overweight/obese adults underestimate their weight status, and athletes may not be immune to this trend. Reasons as to why this phenomenon may be occurring and future directions are discussed.